Sunday, July 31, 2011

what do you want out of this year?

During a recent conversation with my uncle about my upcoming experience as a Jesuit Volunteer, he asked me the following question (which is a very good question that I've been asking myself as well): "What do you want out of this year?"

I rambled for a long time as an answer, but here is a brief statement of how I would answer if I could do it over again:

To make an impact (however big or small).
A better, more developed idea of who I am and the path I am going down.
More runs.
A Boston library card.

But in the end, this is perhaps how I should have answered him:

It's not about what I want or what I get. 
It's about what I give. 
And it's about being open to everything I receive.

Friday, July 15, 2011

mischief managed.

When I was in fourth grade, my grandparents gave me the first three Harry Potter books for Christmas. I was hooked after only a few chapters, and I raced through them all before the break was over. I waited impatiently for the next book to come out, completely unaware of what I would go through over the next 12 years. A few months later, I vividly remember sitting at my kitchen table the night after the fourth book came out, with goosebumps as I read about Voldemort's return in the final pages. The fifth book was released several years later during my first year at TIP, and there were a few anxious weeks before I could get my hands on a copy of the book to see what new adventures were in store for the trio. By the time the sixth book was released, I had caught up to Harry in age and was able to drive myself to buy the book at midnight.

But the release of the seventh book is still my favorite Harry Potter related memory, as I waited in line at midnight at a bookstore in Oban, Scotland to buy the book, and bonded with strangers of various nationalities over our shared love of this wonderful world. The universal appeal of Harry Potter became real to me that night, as I saw how much this book series meant to each and every one of us waiting in line. While I don't love the movies with the same passion as the books, they have grown on me over the years, and it's been nothing but enjoyable to see the stories and characters that I love so dearly come to life on the big screen.

So, thanks Jo, for creating one of the stories that defined my childhood, for the pleasure of getting to grow up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of mystery, magic, and imagination, but most importantly, thanks for showing me that stories can still change the world.

Friday, July 8, 2011

me & my bike.

Until this summer, I hadn't rode a bike in years. However, after being inspired by a few friends at SLU, some blog reading, and lots of thinking about health/environmental benefits of bike riding, I decided to pull my old bike out of the shed this summer while I'm at home.

And when I say my bike is old, I mean it; I'm not sure exactly when we purchased it, but definitely no later than when I was in sixth grade (so, uh, at least 10 years ago). The only reason that it still works for me at all is because I haven't gotten any taller since I was in fifth grade. Since this bike was purchased at Wal-Mart, Toys 'R' Us, or some other comparable retailer, it's obviously not the best quality and was never necessarily meant to be an adult bike. I am fully aware of it's many, many flaws, but for the rest of the summer, it will suit me just fine. After my JV year in Boston, however, I fully plan on getting a new, adult-sized bike.

 purple shoes for a purple bike

While my current bike is less than ideal, my hometown has been an ideal place to experiment with bike riding. The speed limit in town is 25 miles per hour, and I know these streets like the back of my hand, guaranteeing that I am usually able to avoid "busy" roads and hills (ha).

I'm off work today, and I was greeted with temperatures in the low to mid-70's this morning. This is unheard of for Southeast Missouri during this time in July, so I thought that a bike ride would be a great way to take advantage of the cooler weather. I need to pick up a few groceries from the store, so I hopped on my (very old) bike, put on my (new) helmet, and off I went.

 my (old) bike & (new) helmet

I had a great, quick ride the to grocery store with a nice cool breeze. I currently lack a bike lock (I told you, I'm new at this!), so I simply left my bike outside of the front of the store, hoping that the honesty of a small town would guarantee that it would still be there when I returned (it was). My current bike lacks a basket or storage of any kind (something I definitely want in a new bike), so my handy drawstring backpack worked as a substitute to hold my purchases, and I was able to bike back home, as I enjoyed being outdoors and got some exercise.

While there are many perks to biking, I think that one of my favorite things about riding my bike at home is all of the friendly people that wave at me while I ride. It's almost like having my own personal cheering squad. :)